So, is Tiger Woods the greatest ‘Come-back King’? 2 years ago Tiger’s eyes betrayed emptiness, depression & shame, his life at a dead-end. What a journey from ‘reckless driver’ arrest to driving down the last fairway of the US Masters to a cheering world, his career raised from ashes to glorious acclaim.
But, no come-back comes near that of Jesus Christ’s victory over death. On my Easter Saturday morning 30mile cycle around Ayrshire’s hills I tried the impossible, to fully fathom Christ’s death. ‘Silent Saturday’ is the day between the horror of Golgotha & mysterious marvel of the empty Garden Tomb. A pregnant pause, when the world held its breath, contemplating the possibility that ‘God is Dead!’ ‘All Hope Gone Forever!’ There is no darker black or bleaker darkness than the ‘Death’, which buried & covered Christ.
We see things from a ‘standing start’, don’t we? The momentum of our life is not sufficient to take us through death to the heights of heaven. We might think we’ve lived a pretty decent life but it all depends who you compare yourself to, Hitler or Mother Teresa. All of us fall short of the perfection which might qualify us for heaven & eternal life (Romans 3:23). None of us have the ‘holy momentum’ to journey through death and up into God’s holy presence. But Jesus, God’s Son, does.
It’s exhilarating cycling up & down the Ayrshire hills, especially when the speed you pick up on the way down is enough to take you right up to the top of the next hill. Jesus Christ didn’t start from where we do, he careered from Heaven to earth (born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, ministering in Galilee & Jerusalem) and deeper still, sunk into dire ‘Death’. But death could not hold Jesus down, such was the holy height from which He came and the glorious truth is that all who trust in Jesus (all He’s done, is doing & will do for us) can be sure that ‘In Jesus Christ’ we share his righteous trajectory.
“Death swallowed by triumphant Life! Who got the last word, oh, Death? Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now? It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!
With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.”(1 Corinthians 15:55-58 / MSG)
Oh, what comfort & courage for lives caught between the horror & carnage of Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday bomb-blasts, and the joy of resurrection glory ‘with, in & through Jesus Christ’. Oh, what hope for Christians caught in the shadow of death’s grief! What relief to know that ‘in Christ’ we have the momentum for both this world & the next; daily strength to love & live with & for Jesus, assured that death, like ‘Silent Saturday’, is simply a ‘pregnant pause’ before Christ’s momentum takes us on up into eternal life with God!